Top 20 Traditional Colombian Dishes | Try in Colombia or at Home

Explore the wide variety of foods that Colombia has to offer from its rich culinary heritage, including traditional Colombian dishes. The food in Colombia is as excellent as it is known to be in all of Latin America.

One of the finest reasons to visit Colombia is to sample the local food. Colombian cuisine is as diverse and fascinating as the country itself. Every one of the country’s six regions has its own distinct regional specialties. There are regional differences to consider while visiting Colombia’s must-see destinations; you don’t want to miss out on a specialty lunch.

We’ll take a gastronomic journey through Colombia and introduce you to 20 traditional Colombian dishes that you can try either in Colombia or recreate at home.

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Are you eager to try the best Colombian cuisine? This guide will expose you to the best traditional Colombian dishes, whether you’re visiting the country and eager to experience the native fare or you want to try Colombian food at home. Everything will be covered, including Frijoles Rojos and empanadas. 

1. Pandebono


One of the best traditional Colombian dishes is pandebono. It’s said to have been invented by an Italian baker who migrated from California. He used to sell it on the streets by shouting “pane del buono” (good bread); the word stuck, and the bread became well-known among Colombian specialties. So, just what is it exactly? The name of the bread should be obvious to you; it’s also known as Colombian cheese bread.

It is fashioned into bagel or ball shapes using melted cheese, yuca flour, and eggs. Pandano is a versatile dish that can be eaten for breakfast, as street food, or as a side dish for dinner. Keep in mind that the optimum time to consume it is right out of the oven, still warm. The dish, pandebono, is meant to be consumed as soon as possible.

2. Colombian Empanadas

Colombian empanadas have been a popular cuisine. It resembles a Cornish pasty in appearance, with the dough folded over and filled inside. Its distinctive semi-circle shape and pinched edge make it simple to identify. Inside are ingredients such as ground beef, potatoes, cheese, hogao, or tomato salsa.

Of course, there are differences in the recipe, particularly for the meatless varieties. Colombian empanadas are easy to prepare at home and have a great flavor when consumed there. One of the greatest traditional Colombian dishes is empanadas, which are perfect for a quick and simple snack. You can prepare your empanadas at home by following this recipe if you want to test one before visiting Colombia.

3.  Bananos Calados

One of Colombia’s best desserts, bananos calados, originates in the Quindio region, which is close to the Andes. It may not seem or sound very good, but this is undoubtedly one of the best traditional Colombian dishes you will ever taste.

The dish is a sweet and tangy treat for your taste buds that is made up of fried bananas blended with lime juice and served with a scoop of ice cream or a dab of whipped cream. On rare occasions, orange juice and cinnamon may also be used in place of lime juice; therefore, keep a look out for any unusual recipes.

There is no denying that Colombia is home to an abundance of native fruit, which has influenced numerous traditional recipes. One dish to try if you want to explore Colombia’s dessert scene is bananos calados.To relive your trips to Colombia, prepare this delectable dessert at home.

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4. Pescado Frito

Pescado Frito is among the classic and traditional Colombian dishes. Pescado Frito, which means fried fish, is served whole, complete with skin and head. If you’re not used to eating fish this way, it could seem a little intimidating. You will eventually be persuaded, though, because cooking the fish in its skin brings out more flavor and retains the moisture in the flesh.

You should anticipate significantly more juicy meat than what you would find in fish steaks and fillets. In Colombia, red snapper, or mojarra, is the most common fried fish. After the fish is cut into slices, it is seasoned with lime juice and sometimes left to absorb the flavor. It’s the ideal lunch dish, served with rice, plantains, and salad.

5. Rice with Coconuts

Coconut rice is one of the best rice; forget white rice. As its name would imply, coconut rice is cooked using coconuts, which gives it a delicious flavor and earns it a spot on this list of traditional Colombian dishes. Cooking the rice in coconut milk or combining it with shredded coconut are the two main methods for making coconut rice.

It tastes best when cooked in coconut milk since it intensifies the coconut flavor. There is some ambiguity about the origins of coconut rice. The dish is popular throughout the world, particularly in South America and Asia. That being said, it is understandable why coconuts are so widely used in Colombian cooking, as they are one of the country’s most widely available tropical fruits. Coconut rice is delicious, if you have a chance to taste it.

6. Paisa Bandeja

Paisa Bandeja

Bandeja paisa is among the traditional Colombian dishes, arguably the most famous Colombian dish. Some have gone so far as to call it the national dish. A selection of meats, a fried egg, white rice, maize, plantain, red beans, and avocado are the ingredients of bandeja paisa, a platter-style meal. The meats range from chicharron to chorizo sausage and minced beef.

Similar to frijoles rojos, bandeja paisa is a specialty of Antioquia, Colombia, and was ideal for laborers who worked long days in the mountains and fields. Protein and carbohydrates abound in bandeja paisa, which delivers a wholesome punch. It is still a well-liked lunch option that you should try if you are in Colombia. Use this recipe to prepare it at home.

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7. Rojos Frijoles

Cargamento beans, often known as red beans, are used in a particular Colombian cuisine called frijoles rojos. Red beans are a fantastic source of iron, potassium, fiber, low-fat protein, and other nutrients, making this Colombian dish especially healthful.The red beans are cooked with tomatoes, onions, and garlic until they form a stew-like mixture.

This flavorful dish is then usually served with a serving of rice on top. Originally, frijoles rojos was a humble lunch option for laborers due to its affordability, nutrients, and energy to provide sustained energy for a hard day’s work. Today, however, it has become a beloved staple in Colombian cuisine and is cherished as one of the traditional Colombian dishes.

8. Morcilla

Morcilla is a blood sausage made from ground pork and pork blood. One characteristic that sets morcillas apart is their rich, deep reddish-brown hue. They are one of the most popular dishes in Latin America. You should have little trouble finding any to test if you visit Colombia. And if you like black pudding, you’re in for a real treat.

Squeezing the mixture into sausage casings is the method used to make homemade morcillas. Before the ground beef is placed into casings, it is combined with rice, onions, and pork blood. Green peas and cilantro are frequently included in Colombian dishes. After that, the sausages are often boiled to cook.

9. Colombian chicharron

Fried pork belly, or chicharron Colombiano, is a filling dish seasoned with spice, onions, and bay leaves for an amazing flavor. Over many decades of cooking, chicharron has developed a crisp texture and a robust flavor.

It’s a common traditional Colombian dishes that has sentimental value for families and traditions. This meal is typical of the Andean region of Colombia. Nonetheless, Spanish colonists brought it to Colombia from its native Spain. Unlike the Colombian version, the Spanish recipe is very different and allows you to use either rind or belly pieces.

The majority of Latin American nations have their own unique take on chicharron. Prepare to test out as many iterations as you can. But since then, Colombia has put a strong twist on the dish, and chicharron has become a staple of the country’s culinary traditions.

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10. Sopa de Pollo

Translating to “chicken soup,” sopa de pollo is another hearty Colombian dish. It is safe to assume that this soup, which is consumed all over Colombia, is most likely the most typical Colombian soup. In addition, the chicken soup has a lot of yuca, maize, potatoes, and plantains.

It often resembles more of a stew than a soup due to its hearty ingredients. While chicken soup can be found in many places, Colombian cuisine stands out for its unique flavors. Traditional Colombian dishes often feature a whole chicken and incorporate unexpected ingredients like plantains and yuca, making for a delicious and satisfying meal.

A great Colombian dish to try when traveling or to make at home is sopa de pollo. It is one of those one-pot meals that the whole family enjoys and is best prepared slowly and served hot.

11. Lechona

Colombian cuisine on special occasions is called lechona. A whole roasted pig is filled with pork fat, onions, peas, potatoes, white rice, garlic, and cumin-flavored spices. The pig is stuffed, its bones removed, and then it is slow-cooked in the oven for a maximum of ten hours.

Lechona is meant to be the star of the table. This is one of the traditional Colombian dishes that’s meant to be enjoyed in large quantities when you want to treat yourself to a gourmet dinner. However, individual portions of lechona are frequently available at eateries around Colombia, so keep an eye out.

12. Arepa de Huevo

Arepa de Huevo

A variant of traditional arepas, which are fried maize cakes, is called an arepa de huevo. Arepas are a very well-liked breakfast option that is also categorized as comfort food. One of the best variants with eggs is arepa de huevo. They are made by cooking a corn cake, dividing it, adding an egg inside, and then frying it once more to cook the egg.

A fried egg covered in fried bread is the end product. Arepas de huevos is a beloved traditional Colombian dishes, especially popular for breakfast, so it’s no wonder why. They’re typically served stacked, similar to pancakes, and you can pair them with your choice of sauce; sour cream and salsa are both great options.

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13. Cholado

Allow me to introduce you to cholado, a delightful drink popular in Colombia. This refreshing beverage is a blend of condensed milk, fresh fruit, and shaved ice. Depending on where you get it, you might also enjoy it with wafers, whipped cream, and even ice cream. It’s a delicious treat that’s perfect for cooling down on a hot day.

The origin of Cholado is in Jamundi, in the Cauca Valley. It is a hybrid of a drink, dessert, and fruit cocktail that artistically and delectably checks all the boxes. It’s a terrific drink to try when visiting Colombia if you enjoy sweets and fresh fruit.

14. Cazuela De Mariscos

In Colombia, especially along the Caribbean Coast and in Cartagena, one of the most beloved traditional Colombian dishes is cazuela de mariscos, a seafood stew. This flavorful concoction features a rich blend of lobster, mussels, and prawns cooked in coconut milk alongside a variety of vegetables. Some versions even add cheese and white wine for an extra touch of indulgence.

It’s a delicious treat that seafood enthusiasts won’t want to miss. One must-try meal when visiting Colombia’s coastline is cazuela de mariscos. What cuisine tastes better than fresh seafood? The ingredients are almost always fresh seafood that was recently caught in the Caribbean Sea.

15. Carimanola


Carimanolas are simple to identify. The little fritters are typically served in large quantities as bite-sized appetizers because of their distinctive torpedo forms. Carimanolas are a classic dish from Colombia, and they are also available in other Southern American nations like Panama.

Carimanolas are filled inside with flavor, cheese, and either ground beef or shredded chicken. After that, the fritters are deep-fried to produce a pie-like texture. On the outside, they are crunchy and light, yet within, they are tender. Aji sauce is typically served with carimanolas. This vibrant green sauce, which is primarily made of cilantro, is lovely and peppery, making it the ideal side dish.

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16. Fritanga

Fritanga is served on a platter. This dish, which is popular among street food vendors, is made up of a variety of items that are piled onto a big platter and are typically cooked over a grill.

What kind of food can you find in Fritanga, then? Usually a combination of veggies, plantains, sausage, and chorizo. Fritanga is a dish from Nicaragua, while Colombian cooking has incorporated it. Its terrible beginnings are the story behind it.

The meal was originally developed in the wake of the 1931 Nicaraguan earthquake when street food was prepared over barbecues. These days, fritanga is prepared throughout Colombia and Latin America. It’s a good, filling, and historically significant dish.

17. Obleas

Obleas is a popular meal throughout Spain and Latin America, not just in Colombia. Obleas appears to be a sandwich. This traditional treat consists of two wafers layered with dulce de leche filling, which is frequently a concoction of jam, whipped cream, and fruit.

Colombian caramel is a unique component added to the almost similar Colombian version. Obleas are among the best traditional Colombian dishes to sample if you have a sweet craving. They are present in every place, including street vendors and cafes.

18. Bocadillo

A delicious Colombian delicacy called bocadillo is produced with guava paste, which is the byproduct of a well-known tropical fruit. This meal has a particular dessert that is quite sweet. It’s not sticky to the touch, but it does have a melt-in-your-mouth quality.

If you want to prepare bocadillos at home, it’s easy to do so because they only need a few materials, mainly panela and guava pulp. Bocadillos are frequently offered at cafes, generally with a slice of savory white cheese. They are the ideal bite-sized treats, and they come sliced into small rectangles or squares.

19. Colombian Bunuelos

Deep-fried balls filled with fresh cheese, known as bunuelos, make the ideal midday or morning snack. Surprisingly, bunuelos are frequently found in Colombian cafes, where they are served with hot chocolate and coffee.

One of the most well-liked traditional Colombian dishes is bunuelos. Eggs, milk, sugar, cornflour, and yucca flour are combined to make dough in this recipe. After that, the bunuelos are formed into their signature appetizer-sized balls and floated in a pan of hot vegetable oil before the dough is deep-fried.

It is believed that Spanish invaders brought bunuelos to Colombia. These days, Colombians eat snacks on the street and as a treat at cafes and restaurants. Christmastime is a favorite time for bunuelos.

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20. Colombian Mondongo Sopa

Colombian Mondongo Sopa

Although mondongo is another common Colombian soup, it frequently has a stew-like consistency. The soup is served hot in a tiny bowl and contains onion, potato, beef tripe, chorizo, and pork. Mondongo is a very classic dish from Colombia that can be found in most eateries all across the nation.

Sopa de mondongo, like many other traditional Colombian dishes, is thought to have originated with the Spanish colonists. However, the tomato-based soup has become a mainstay in Colombian cuisine, with local variations featuring a distinct touch.

Travel Tips about Colombia

A treasure of South America, Colombia is waiting for you! This country is sure to awe, whether it is through its captivating coasts, wild rainforests, or high-altitude national parks.

Here are some vital details to be aware of before you set off on your journey:

Use Caution: Colombian streets can be a little treacherous. It’s not uncommon to find sections of the pavement missing or cracked. Be cautious, especially after dark, as some less-frequented regions have dimly lit streets. Take care of your feet, particularly if you’re taking pictures while exploring.
Diverse Attractions: There are so many amazing attractions in Colombia. There is something for everyone, from 5,000-meter-high Himalayan peaks to white sand beaches. Discover the luscious scenery, energetic metropolis, and charming little towns.
Warm and Friendly People: The people of Colombia are extraordinarily amiable and kind. Their distinct Latin vibe will make you regret ever having a return ticket. Make friends with the locals and embrace the culture of the area.
Language: Not everyone speaks English, despite Spanish being the official language. Acquiring a few fundamental expressions will improve your encounter and facilitate communication with locals.
Safety: Although safety in Colombia has improved significantly, keeping up with current events is still important. Certain regions should be avoided, especially at night. Keep an eye on your possessions and make use of reliable transportation services.
Currency: The accepted form of payment is the Colombian peso (COP). Although many ATMs are available, having extra cash on hand for smaller transactions is a good idea.
Weather: Because of its varied terrain, Colombia experiences a wide range of climates. Do some research on the local weather in the areas you intend to visit. Consider your packing needs, particularly if you’re traveling to a higher altitude.
Coffee Culture: Colombia is well-known for producing superior coffee beans. To experience the flavors and learn about the production, think about going on a coffee tour.
Cultural Etiquette: Colombians are friendly, but it’s important to show consideration for regional traditions. Be courteous and smile when you greet someone. Discover their customs and holidays.

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Recall that Colombia is a nation of contrasts, with thriving cities coexisting with beautiful scenery, busy marketplaces, and peaceful beaches. Savor each minute and allow this stunning nation to capture your heart!

Colombian cuisine is a vibrant tapestry of flavors and traditions that reflects the country’s rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re exploring Colombia or trying Colombian dishes at home, these 20 traditional Colombian dishes are sure to delight your taste buds and transport you to the heart of Colombia.

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